Personally I like Dieselpunk, an under used style, but there is no denying the aesthetically pleasing stylings of Steampunk. From Crabfu's creative creatures to Jake von Slatt's memorable computer, the culture is certainly inspirational art-form. I recently found myself in possession of some extra white LEDs, and a rather dimly lit desk. While I could have simply attached them directly to the desk, that would have been quite a waste when it comes time for new furniture. The solution was quite obvious and I hadn't created any Steampunk works in quite a long while. Many of the parts you probably have lying around, but if not, it shouldn't cost over $15-30.
Step 1: Gather Your Munitions
It is possible to compose this lamp out of scrounged parts (as I did), but some of the parts will have to be purchased.
Parts (to be purchased):
1. One meter of white Turnigy LEDs ($8.25 after shipping), can be found here at hobbyking.com
2. Two feet of 1/2 inch copper pipe
3. 13 inches of 2.5 inch diameter PVC pipe to be used as the shade
4. Brass spray paint
5. 3M spray adhesive
Parts (to be scrounged or purchased):
1. N-channel FET with an operating range that includes 12 volts
2. Small NPN transistor with an operating range that includes 12 volts
3. Two 2.2 ohm resistors
4. One 100k ohm resistor
5. 12 volt power supply
6. Barrel jack that fits your power supply
7. SPST switch (at least capable of 1 Amp)
8. Black or brown vinyl. This can be found on a number of clothing items at thrift stores
9. Base. I used a broken Logitech Attack 3 joystick. Instructions for alternate bases will be described
10. Two zip-ties
11. Epoxy (liquid or putty, your choice)
12. Three feet of wire. Both positive and negative are needed. Duplex wire (such as that found on power supplies) works well
13. Two 4-0.7x20 (or equivalent imperial) bolts and matching nuts
14. Prototyping PCB such as those found at Radio-Shack
1. Power drill
2. Screwdriver set
3. Drill bit set
4. Soldering iron & Solder
5. Wire cutters and wire strippers
6. Hot glue gun and glue sticks
7. Piper bender (optional)
8. Electrical Tape
10. Razor (such as an Exacto knife)
11. Hack saw
12. Vice or hammer
Step 2: Build and Test the Circuit
It is advisable to mock up the circuit on a breadboard before soldering it onto the PCB. That way you don't frustrate yourself. After you solder the circuit to the PCB, be sure to check that it still works. If your barrel jack is of the kind that is case-mounted rather than PCB mounted, be sure that you solder the leads to it, but do not solder the leads to the PCB yet. The same goes for the SPST switch. That will be done during final assembly.
These LEDs are cheap, and we want them to last a long time. Therefore a circuit is implemented to protect them. The circuit itself is common sense (well, for electrical engineers anyways), and simple to understand. R2 is a current set resistor. When excessive current passes through Q2, R2 redirects the current to activate Q1, which then turns down Q2. For this particular string of LEDs, R2's value should be 1.25 ohms at 1/2 watt. Unfortunately, there is no resistor at that value. In order to get close, two 2.2 ohm resistors are placed in parallel to get 1.1 ohms. Close enough. For more detail on these types of LED control circuits, and how to calculate them, refer to this Instructable. Dan provides some in-depth explanation on their design and implementation, as well as some excellent ideas for other circuits.
After all the testing is over, remove the leads from the LED strip. Do not use prolonged heat as the strip is made of plastic. Next cut the one meter strip into four equal strips. There are separation points every two inches that have copper solder tabs. The polarity is marked on each separation point, so don't worry about keeping track of that. After cutting, tin the solder tabs. If you are unfamiliar with what tinning is, it means to apply a small amount of solder to the surface. Now remove the curve from each strip by bending it so that each will lay flat, and lay the strips side by side. Cut some short pieces of wire, strip their ends, and tin them. Use these pieces of wire to solder the LED strips back together as seen in the last photo. Because everything is tinned, extra solder shouldn't be needed. Make sure to match the polarity as marked on the strips.
Step 3: Prepare the Base and Post
Base Option One:
If you are using a joystick, skip down to option two. There are a number of ways to create a base for this lamp. Pretty much anything that has a wide footprint with a flat surface to attach to should do. Such items as a bowl or a candlestick holder (preferably brass, but you can paint them). If the base you chose is lightweight, it will need to be weighted down to keep the lamp upright. Bits of lead roof-flashing works well if you don't touch it too often. Which reminds me, I am in no way responsible for any health conditions or injuries incurred by making this project. If you found a hefty metal base, then good for you. A simple way to install the copper pipe onto an alternate base is to find a copper flange with mounting holes, and then solder the pipe to the flange with a propane torch. If you can't find one at the hardware store, ask one of the plumbing associates for some advice, or get creative. Be sure to drill holes for which to mount your barrel jack, PCB, and switch, as well as a hole to pass the wires from inside the pipe through (more on that farther down).
Base Option Two:
The joystick I dismantled had the dandy little feature of providing me a pole to mount the copper pipe to. The plastic inside this pole was drilled out, and a hole drilled in the side to pass the wires of the LEDs through. If your joystick base doesn't have a pole in the middle, read the above. In one of the pictures, I replaced the hole in the side of the pole with a slot down the height to ease passing the wires through during assembly. Be sure to clean off any grease. Drill holes for which to mount your barrel jack, PCB, and switch, as well as a hole to pass the wires from inside the pipe through (more on that farther down).
Preparing the Post (Copper Pipe):
First off, if you are mounting the pipe over the pole found in the bottom of a joystick (as described in option two), a two inch slot will need to be cut in one end of the pipe. In addition, a hole for the wires to pass out of will also need to be drilled. smash the other end of the pipe flat for about 1.5 inches using a vice or hammer. Drill two holes matching the diameter of your bolts in the smashed bit to mount the shade to later. Drill another wire pass-through hole just before the smashed bit for the wires to reach the shade. At this point you may bend the copper pipe to the desired shape. If you don't use a pipe-bender, be sure to slowly bend the pipe in small increments, supporting it where it isn't intended to bend. If you grab two ends, it's just going to fold in on itself and break. Make sure that the smashed end is in a position that will make it come out parallel to your desktop.
Step 4: Prepare Shade, and Decorate
Using a hacksaw or other cutting tool, cut down the 13 inch length of the PVC pipe so that you have 1/5 of the circumference. That is, a 1/5 wedge. Cut two inches off one end so that a 3/4 inch wide tab is left. See the first picture on step one to see what I'm talking about. In the middle of this tab, drill out two bolt-holes in a pattern matching that of the smashed end of the copper pipe. Using your brass spray-paint, paint the outside curve of the PVC, NOT the inside. Be sure to use multiple thins coats for best results.
Now you can begin to decorate the base. If your base is not already colored brass, go ahead and paint it too. Be sure to not paint areas where you are planning on applying the vinyl, and at points where it would hinder adhesives used for mounting parts. I taped off the pole used to mount the post, and the area where the circuit board would be mounted.
If you are planning on applying vinyl to a surface, make sure before you start that you have enough to cover the entire surface. Lay the surface to be "vinyled" on top of some newspaper to protect your work-space. If your vinyl has a cloth backing, try to remove as much of the cloth as you can from the vinyl. I learned a little too late that the vinyl tends to peel off from the cloth backing after application. Open your 3M adhesive, and spray a little bit onto the newspaper to clean the nozzle. Maintaining a distance of about six inches, spray the surface to which the vinyl is to be adhered. Working quickly, stretch the vinyl over the surface tightly, and do so for about a minute. Be careful, as the adhesive is EXTREMELY sticky, and if you mess up repairs will be very time consuming. After about five minutes, trim off the excess vinyl using a razor (such as an Exacto Knife).
Step 5: Pre-Assembly
If your method of mounting the copper pipe involves soldering, be sure to do that first and then let it cool. Now run two wires through the pipe to power the LEDs. If your barrel jack is PCB mounted (like mine), be sure to trim and drill the PCB to accommodate mounting it in the necessary position to make the barrel jack accessible. If the copper pipe needs to pass through the vinyl, use a razor blade to cut a hole just big enough for the copper pipe to pass through. Test fit the copper pipe to the base, and mount the shade to the pipe using the two bolts and nuts. At this point you can make any adjustments to the position of the lamp shade by bending the copper pipe. Be sure not to rely on the base for support whilst bending the pipe because the base may not be able to handle that much stress. After test fitting, remove the shade from the copper pipe, and remove the PCB.
Step 6: Final Assembly
Lay the shade upside down on your table. Align the array of LEDs in the shade so that the two unused ends are near the mounting tab on the shade. Remove the covers from the adhesive backing on the LEDs, and stick them to the the shade. Be sure to press firmly up and down the length of each strand to ensure good adhesion. If you shade is metal, be sure to lift the ends, apply electrical tap to the shade, and lay the ends back down. The heat from soldering the strands together has likely melted the insulation from underneath, and a metal shade would short them out. Lay the shade near the end of the copper pipe, and solder the leads to one of the two unused ends of the LED strands. You may now permanently bolt the shade to the copper pipe.
If your copper pipe passes through a top cover (like mine), be sure to pass it through before continuing. Mount the copper pipe to the base using whichever method you chose. The reason for the slot at the end of the copper pipe was to allow the pipe to be compressed onto the pole in the base using zip-ties. See the picture to see what I'm talking about. I decided to apply some epoxy too for good measure. Mount your switch to the base, and solder its leads to the PCB. Now solder the leads coming out of the copper pipe from the LEDs to the PCB. Make sure you got the polarity correct! If your barrel jack is case mounted, don't forget to solder its leads to. Since everything is soldered up now, you can mount the PCB to the base. For me this included a ludicrous amount of our dear friend hot-glue.
With everything connected and mounted, assemble the base. Add any extra doo-dads you want to increase the lamp's Steampunk aura, and perform any touch ups you feel necessary.
Step 7: Light Up That Dimly Lit Desktop!
Find a 12 volt power adapter that matches the polarity of the barrel jack on your lamp. Generally that would be: center pole positive, outer pole negative. You did keep track of that didn't you? Plug in your lamp and enjoy using that no longer dark workspace!